Both medalists hit the road in State Amateur Golf Championship match play
STRATHAM — The advantage of being a co-medalist in the New Hampshire State Amateur Golf Championship? There wasn’t one Wednesday.
Portsmouth Country Club’s Joe Cooper and Nashua Country Club’s James Pleat, the tournament’s co-medalists after two rounds of stroke play, were each upset on the first day of match play.
Concord Country Club’s Adam Godbout beat Cooper, 6 and 4, and Manchester Country Club’s David Larrivee defeated Pleat, 5 and 4.
Cooper was the tournament’s No. 1 seed. Pleat was seeded No. 2.
Godbout, 17, needed to win a three-hole playoff Tuesday night to reach match play. He was 3-up after three holes and said he played the 14 holes in 2-under par.
“Adam played awesome, made a bunch of putts,” Cooper said. “I just put it in the worst spots on the first couple of holes. Got off to a bad start and was down three down after three. You’ve got to credit Adam. He played great. He was under par, which is awesome. Today was tougher than both of the last two days.”
Godbout will be a senior at Concord High School in the fall. He said his family used to have a beach house in Hampton next to a home owned by Cooper’s family, but that he hadn’t seen Cooper in at least four years.
“He told me, ‘This might be a quick match,’ ” Godbout said. “I know he was just messing with me because we know each other, but he did seem pretty sure he was going to beat me.
“I felt like I might surprise him. I just wanted to play my best. I did just that and ended up beating him.”
Like Godbout, Larrivee had to survive a playoff Tuesday night to make the field of 64 for match play. Larrivee said he’s been the No. 1 seed in this tournament and lost on the first day of match play, and he’s also been the No. 64 seed and advanced.
“Match play is a wonderful thing,” said Larrivee, a 46-year-old Bedford resident. “It’s good to be on this end of it this time. James is one of the best players in the state. I caught him on the right day and he caught me on the wrong day. That’s how it went.
“You get some confidence making it through the (playoff). That’s the most pressure you’re going to see in this tournament. The way I looked at it coming in was James was the one with something to lose more than me.”
Derryfield Country Club’s Dan Arvanitis is one of five past State Am champions who qualified for this year’s tournament. All five advanced to the Round of 32.
Arvanitis, a Manchester resident who won this tournament in 2001, moved on by beating Stonebridge Country Club’s Dylan Evans, 4 and 3. Arvanitis had to recover from a poor start that left him 2-down after four holes.
“I was hitting it lousy,” Arvanitis said. “I just had to right myself. I got it to 2-up on the front, then I birdied 13 and 14 to get to 3-up. That swung the momentum to me. It forced him to go for the green in two on 15 and he hit it in the water.
“At this point I’ll just try to hang in there and take it a round at a time.”
The other past champions who advanced are Nashua Country Club’s Phil Pleat — James’ father — (1981, 1985 and 1997), Portsmouth Country Club’s Craig Steckowych (1990 and 1998), Canterbury Woods Country Club’s Jim Cilley (2011) and Atkinson Resort & Country Club’s Joe Leavitt (2012).
There will be two rounds of match play today and Friday leading up to Saturday’s 36-hole final.
“You’d be hard-pressed to find another time when the one and the two lost on the first day of match play,” Larrivee said. “It’s one day at a time at this point.”